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- DescriptionWhen Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969, they wore spacesuits made by Playtex: twenty-one layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. This book is the story of that spacesuit. It is a story of the triumph over the military-industrial complex by the International Latex Corporation, best kwn by its consumer brand of Playtex -- a victory of elegant softness over engineered hardness, of adaptation over cybernetics. Playtex's spacesuit went up against hard armor-like spacesuits designed by military contractors and favored by NASA's engineers. It was only when those attempts failed -- when traditional engineering firms could t integrate the body into mission requirements -- that Playtex, with its intimate expertise, got the job. In Spacesuit, Nicholas de Monchaux tells the story of the twenty-one-layer spacesuit in twenty-one chapters addressing twenty-one topics relevant to the suit, the body, and the techlogy of the twentieth century. He touches, among other things, on eighteenth-century androids, Christian Dior's New Look, Atlas missiles, cybernetics and cyborgs, latex, JFK's carefully cultivated image, the CBS lunar broadcast soundstage, NASA's Mission Control, and the applications of Apollo-style engineering to city planning. The twenty-one-layer spacesuit, de Monchaux argues, offers an object lesson. It tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to kw the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario.
- Author BiographyNicholas de Monchaux is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley. His work has appeared in the architectural journal Log, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Architectural Digest, and other publications.
- PrizesWinner of American Astronautical Society Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award 2011.
- Author(s)Nicholas De Monchaux
- PublisherMIT Press Ltd
- Date of Publication11/02/2011
- SubjectOther Specific Technologies
- Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintMIT Press
- Content Note26 color illus., 114 b&w illus.
- Weight1157 g
- Width178 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine22 mm
- Interest AgeFrom 18
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